Did Bilawal really mean what he said? A deeper analysis would say NO*

By – Mithun Vijay Kumar, Author and Analyst

The objectionable statement made by the foreign minister of Pakistan is receiving severe criticism from Indian policymakers and the media. However, if such statements from Pakistani politicians in the past are observed we can conclude that Bilawal Bhutto may not have really meant what he spoke, in fact, targeting India may not have been his real intention. To fully understand what Bhutto spoke one must look into the political developments of Pakistan in the recent past. What Pakistani politicians speak or do on an international platform is either for cheering the masses or for political gains back home.

Bilawal Bhutto carries a complicated legacy with political ideologies swinging from pro-nationalist to liberal domestic policies. If his grandfather relied on blind nationalism and anti-India rhetoric, his mother Benazir at one point worked towards establishing peace with India, although her role in the Kashmiri Pandit exodus couldn’t be forgotten. For someone born with a silver spoon and having a delicate understanding of the grassroots-level issues in Pakistan, appeasing the military establishment could be one of the ways to scale up his political career. His recent statement on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, therefore, could be driven by his urge to be in the good books of the new military command in Pakistan.

At a time when India leads the most prestigious global economic forum G20, Pakistan’s economy is moving on its hands and knees owing to internal and external conflicts. The growing extremism in Pakistan has been fueled by a narrow vision of Pakistan’s national identity, frightening its hopes for social stability. In fragile economies like Pakistan, a small political shake-up can severely impact the country’s economy underscoring development. At a time when Pakistan must be working on ways to tackle insecurity in the financial sector, such statements from politicians could have a drastic effect on its economy as global pressure mounts.

India especially under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi has reached such heights that a comparison of its economy with the struggling neighbor would be completely irrelevant. However, to put things in perspective, Indian and Pakistan had similar per-capita GDPs in 1990 which were around $350 per person. However, by 2022, India’s GDP is higher than Pakistan’s by over 50 percent. The main reason for this could be attributed to the political instability in Pakistan which at least the younger generation of leaders must focus on. To conclude, the entire episode at the UNSC suggests that no peace talks could be possible with Pakistan for the next few years if the attitude of political parties and their military establishment continues in this manner.

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